Distiller: Laphroaig. ABV: 43%. Region: Islay. Price: $80-100.
I found my new favorite Laphroaig.
This year’s 200th Anniversary 15-year-old bottling is something special. That starts with the design work of David Cole, who contributed the lovely picture of the bottle and tube he designed for this release. (See more of his work here.) It elevates and dignifies the classic Laphroaig look, just distinctively enough for a special release, without calling attention to itself unnecessarily. Just right.
What’s in the bottle may be the most balanced Laphroaig I’ve ever had. First released 30 years ago, but discontinued in favor of the 18-year-old until this year’s anniversary release, the 15 is far tamer than the standard 10 or even the milder Triple Wood and Quarter Cask–both great in their own right. Laphroaig itself says that the barrels for the 15 were traditionally chosen for a “particularly rounded and mellow flavor.”
It shows. The nose is a delight. Yes, some peat of course, but so much more: lemon custard, wet hay, candied pecans, a grassy field after a rain. Gorgeous. All of these on the palate, with far less iodine and briny maritime notes than its younger siblings. The finish add a little bitter lemon zest that’s just perfect.
A very worthy release for a very big anniversary. Grab one if you can, and check out the other great spirits branding and design work by David Cole at his website. Sláinte, friends! -BO